Freighter Spills 50k Gallons Of Diesel In Lake Michigan

The US Coast Guard and other responders have been striving to contain and clean up a diesel fuel leakage from a freighter vessel on Lake Michigan close to Manistee. The bulk carrier measuring 612 feet and named Manitowoc reported about its hull breach on the starboard (right) diesel tank around 2:50 p.m.

The Coast Guard’s 9th District Headquarters based in Cleveland mentioned in a release on Wednesday. Approximately 45,000 gallons of diesel fuel may have been leaked into Lake Michigan about 1.5 nm northwest of where Manistee River meets Lake Michigan; quick mitigation efforts by personnel on the vessel likely lowered the spill to much less, the Coast Guard officials said. The reason behind the spill and the amount of fuel released continues to be examined.

Lake Michigan
Credit: uscg.mil

A red slick was observed on the lake, approximately 1.6 miles long by 200 yards wide, projecting from the northeast of the vessel within a few hours of the spill report. The public to keep an eye out for diesel. The Manitowoc reportedly activated the response plan, and the shipping firm’s diesel fuel spill removal response crew members have been working to contain the spill.

The vessel is not leaking diesel fuel anymore, Coast Guard officials informed. Internal fuel transfers to other tanks reduced the level of diesel in the tank to under the breach location that has been plugged now.

A unified command has been organized to supervise and direct the cleanup response efforts, including relevant representatives of the Coast Guard; the shipping firm; the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy; Benzie and Manistee county offices of emergency management as well as sheriff’s departments; the city of Manistee; and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

No impact is known yet to beaches, but the Coast Guard has urged people to keep away from areas with diesel fuel and to call 231-723-6241 to report the confirmed instances of diesel fuel contaminating the shorelines. Officials also urged the public not to attempt rescuing injured wildlife, as diesel fuel exposure could bring about several health hazards to humans. There is zero known effect on drinking water supplies, per the Coast Guard officials.

Reference: Freep, News Yahoo

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